Dusty on MBPTC round one and its impact

My name is Dusty Thomas and I have been working in the community locally with various projects since 2009. My friend Simon was part of the MBPTC startup group and invited me to join, which I did in November 2017. I thought it was an excellent project and wished to be there from the outset.

When we started, several of us knew each other from other projects and it was the same for nearly everyone, so there were links throughout the group that tied us together. The majority of us had no idea what a PTC was, so that took two or three monthly meetings to get our heads around. As we all went along, we developed closer ties with each other and by month four, we were all singing from the same hymn sheet, partially thanks to a visit from Andrew Grinnell of Leeds PTC.

I was the facilitator of the Welfare and Benefits group and we seemed to achieve the most, notably Mellishaw, changing Council letters and a few of us Community Commissioners speaking to all council staff. As a community commissioner involved with the visit to UU HQ which resulted in them doing a lot more for people before they ended up in debt, including a payment holiday for people applying for UC. They have 8 million customers!

The MBPTC round 1 has had an incredible amount of influence in the local area that has been enduring, from local systemic change to a massive turnaround in culture from services, firstly people’s attitudes have changed and now they approach customers and things with a lot more compassion and humanity. Secondly, the voices of lived-experience are included on a wide range of boards and panels.

At the moment I am very involved with the running of Let’s BeFriends, a homeless charity a couple of round 1 community commissioners set up alongside other people with lived experience of homelessness. I have become a part of the Lancaster District Health and Wellbeing Partnership, I sit on both the Lancaster and the Bay ICC’s (Integrated Care Communities) I have become a trustee of both Morecambe Bay Foodbank and EGGCUP food club. I am also co-Chair of the LDFPA (Lancaster District Food Poverty Alliance). I am also a trustee of Lancaster Methodist Church and a Sunday steward. Finally, I am still very active with MBPTC and I am part of the Facilitation team.